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July 20, 2013

Minor headaches,major potential in downtown Jeffersonville work

Chestnut Street reconstruction worth the wait, business owners say

JEFFERSONVILLE — A construction-related hole at Spring and Chestnut streets in Jeffersonville’s downtown historic district might remain longer than expected.

Add to the mix the enhancement project on Chestnut Street, and some downtown businesses are feeling the pinch of construction work despite focusing on the long-term benefits.

As part of the city’s Chestnut Street reconstruction project, the intersection of Spring and Chestnut streets was being repaired, but the need to fix a brick sewer in the intersection — the source of the hole — threatened to extend its closure. At Jeffersonville’s Board of Public Works meeting it was thought that the need to repair the combined sewer could extend the intersection closure into next week.

City Engineer Andy Crouch had said the contractor for the project was still shooting to have the intersection reopened Friday. As of press time on Friday, the intersection remained closed. Messages left Friday with Crouch and with the project’s contractor, Pace Contracting LLC, were not returned.

Wastewater Superintendent Len Ashack also said he does not believe the contractor will be slowed down by the need to repair the sewer in the intersection, but the additional work did add cost to the project. The sewer repair totaled about $29,000 and was paid for by the Jeffersonville Sewer Board, Ashack said.

Chestnut Street is still expected to remain closed for 60 days while the road is widened and repaved.

Jeffersonville Planning Director Shane Corbin said the revamped streetscape will create a seamless transition from the end of the Big Four Bridge ramp at Chestnut and Pearl streets to Spring Street.

A DUSTING OF A CONSTRUCTION IMPACT

Some businesses in and around the Chestnut Street reconstruction project have said that the detour — which diverted traffic off Spring Street down an alley on the north side of a public parking lot rather than the traffic plan previously presented — and the ongoing construction has already had an impact on their business.

Owner of Perkfection Cafe Carole Vissing said the closure has kept some of her regular customers at bay.

“For one I don’t have my handicapped parking [and] I don’t think they’re paying attention to the sign,” she said.

A sign at the corner of Spring and Maple streets, where Perkfection is also located, limits vehicles to local traffic only and the handicapped spot is just past the sign. She said that her customers are avoiding going in the coffee shop because they haven’t driven past the local traffic only sign to park.

“Some of the regulars I’ve seen, I’ve said you can park there,” Vissing said.

Linda Williams, owner of Old Bridge Inn, which is located within the construction zone on Chestnut Street, said there are a few little problems, but the bed and breakfast will persevere.

“The good outweighs the bad,” she said.

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